Sunday, February 7, 2016

Makin' Whoopee Takes on New Meaning for Valentines Day

CHOCOCOCA Baking Company in MA makes the freshest, most tasty, to-die for mini whoopee pies in many unique flavors - some seasonal - from the freshest ingredients, right on the premises. I know. I haunt the place regularly. And they ship anywhere in the country (details here). So whether you live the next town over or across the country, get your order in now!!

At a charming 2" each, they are small enough to enjoy a sampling. Best yet, they come in very elegant packaging. So you are giving a helluva lot while spending affordably.  Sold individually or choices for multiples. GOOD NEWS: They make gluten free versions too.

TIP: If you're long distance, simply call them to see what's what in terms of deadlines and shipping at 978-499-8889 or email

This stuff is the best. A nice change to the same old chocolates!

Here is Valentines Day Special Box that anyone would LOVE to receive:

Having connected with Jenny's Wedding Cakes, you can get some special messages like the below. I am not sure if there are any limits to what holds up during shipping, so please do call them as suggested, since Valentines Day is growing closer.

Choose from:

Velvet Chocolate w/ vanilla cream cheese (their twist on red velvet).
Chocolate w/ espresso cream
Chocolate w/ raspberry cream
Chocolate w/ chocolate ganache

This also makes a fabulous hostess gift, a great dessert to bring to a potluck or cocktail party (you will be the MOST popular) and I always put it on my prize table at my Oscar Party!  

TIP: Don't forget to buy yourself a few to take home, grab your book and a bubbly tub or a fire and have an utterly DIVINE winter evening!

I met husband and wife team Julie Ganong and Alan Mons when they had a corner store when I first moved here and was on the hunt for the most Parisian croissant, which I do everywhere I go. I stopped in, and had the most wonderful, relaxed chat with them and went back again and again.  They are lovely people, and very active in the community. 

Within months, they made a leap to an enormous, gorgeous, wonderful loft-like bakery and coffee shop in the Tannery in Newburyport and have done nothing but thrive. They make best bran muffin around (and you know how hard that is to find), scones in flavors that make me stand for 5 full minutes trying to decide which to get each time and their coffee is always perfect. And their croissants passed the Yes Test.

I do this blog precisely to turn people on to finding something unique and truly good. I wade through the muck so you can go straight for the pearl. So make sure to check out Chococoa, in person, or online! Yes, they do corporate gifts and even ship internationally - just contact them and go from there. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Give a Little Volume of Erotica

Repost of a favorite from November 25, 2012 with a few additions:

The erotica I hold in the highest esteem is that of Anias Nin. You can Google her and find many writings, but she published two books of short stories that are my all-time favorites. They are subtly stimulating and make a classy gift for grown up tastes. The hardcover version is the one to give, but will have to be found used from one of the many book dealers Try Allibris or there are many to be found when putting in the title, through Barnes and Noble or Amazon). Just search for like-new condition, with the dust jacket.

Little Birds, on Amazon for $11 and Delta of Venus, also on Amazon for $11ish.

She also kept diaries that have been published in many forms, the most famous being Henry and June, which documents her torrid affair with writer Henry Miller. Drawn from the original, uncensored journals of Anais Nin, "Henry and June" is an intimate account of a woman's sexual awakening. It covers a single momentous year - from late 1931 to the end of 1932 - during Nin's life in Paris, when she met Henry Miller and his wife, June. She fell in love with June's beauty and Henry's writing and, soon after June's departure for New York, began a fiery affair with Henry, which liberated her sexually and morally but undermined her marriage and led her into psychoanalysis. One question dominated her thoughts: what would happen when June returned to Paris? That event took place in October 1932, leaving Nin trapped between two loves - Henry and June.

e.e. Cummings whose name now sounds too ironic has a book of erotic poems for $12 on Amazon.  "Many years ago the prodigious and famously prolific E. E. Cummings sat in his study writing and thinking about sex. His private brooding gave way to poems and drawings of sexual and romantic love that delight and provoke. Here, collected for this first time in a single volume, are those erotic poems and sketches, culled from Cummings’s original manuscripts by the distinguished editor George James Firmage."


Not to be outdone, Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda has his own  slender volume of Love Poems - such beauty for only $11. "Charged with sensuality and passion, his love poems are the most celebrated. Mostly written on the island paradise of Capri (the idyllic setting of the Oscar-winning movie Il Postino), Love Poems embraces the seascapes surrounding the poet and his love Matilde Urrutia, their waves and shores saturated with a new, yearning eroticism."

While this was new in 2012, and now it's been made into a movie, it's still notable. The book that was on everyone's lips (pun intended) was Fifty Shades of Gray.  Someone on your list may want to read it just to know what everyone else is talking about. People diss it as "Mommy Porn," suggesting it's basically a bondage-flavored romance novel that's palatable enough for most tastes.... Everyone who has read it, from friends to Reviewers from the New York Times and NPR, say it's poorly written but there's something compelling about the story - SO compelling that perhaps you have to give the first at least, if not the whole trilogy.  HERE it is on Amazon for only $9.

And then there's always the classic - Lady Chatterly's Lover. The Literature Network describes it well: Most famous because of its obscenity trial during the 1960's, Lady Chatterley's Lover is far from a "dirty book." Rather, through his usage of local vernacular and an in depth look at the true relationship between two humans, Lawrence has successfully portrayed sex as sacred in a world where sex is viewed as nothing more than physical pleasure. This novel is a masterful example of a writer going back to everyone's common roots and emerging with a thought provoking masterpiece designed to affect a change within its readers.

While we're on old classics, I must mention Nabakov's Lolita - Wikipedia says: The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist andunreliable narrator, middle-aged literature professor Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. His private nickname for Dolores is Lolita.

There is always The Story of O, by Pauline Reage, though this is really a very harsh one, in terms of the dom-submission theme towards the female character. Might be pushing it for the average person. I mention it because it's a classic.

Anne Rice put out a trilogy of erotic novels under a pen name of A. N. Roquelaure, before she rose to international fame with her Vampire series... It didn't do much for me but there are many tastes. THe titles are: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment and Beauty's Release. They're BDSM novels set in a medieval fantasy world, natch, against the backdrop of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty.

How about a beautifully bound volume of Sappho, the Greek poetess from the island of Lesbos who wrote love poetry to young women?  Or from one of my favorite writers, Yukio Mishima, whose homoerotic novels, Forbidden Colors and Confessions of a Mask are intriguing reads...

In addition to Sappho, if you're interested in more ancient erotic poetry here's a short list: 
Ovid — Roman erotic poet
Catullus — Roman erotic poet
Sextus Propertius — Roman poet
Petrarch — Italian poet, considered, together with Dante, the father of Renaissance. His love sonnets dedicated to Laura are masterpieces of erotic poetry
Bai Juyi– Romantic poet of Tang dynasty
King Solomon–Author, according to Judeo-Christian tradition, of the Song of Songs.
John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester — British 17th Century libertine

There is a pretty comprehensive list of sex manuals, and erotic novels on Wikipedia, which you can find HERE. Happy Hunting...

TIP: While I've linked some of these books to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, it's worth Googling around to the many used booksellers to find a volume that suits you. Used hard covers with interesting dust jackets make wonderful gifts, in fact they can be extra-special. Most are available in e-versions, but especially for this genre, I think not as nice as it could be for a gift. But if you can only find paperbacks of the ancient poets... go for it. There's a romantic notion in that whole thing in itself. 

AND PS: There are movie and audio versions of almost all of these if reading is not... and more. 

Valentines Day Gifts Galore!

Here is one big post with a lot of ideas, from the innocent to the naughty. Keep scrolling till you find something that's juuuuust right.

First up, I love this one. You can put all your important dates on a canvas - but you need to order fast. If not, it's great for an anniversary, or any special celebration between you. Personalize with couples names up to 27 characters, 1-5 dates up to 8 characters each and 1-5 date descriptions up to 30 characters each. Measures 8"Lx10"H   $39 from Red Envelope.

Sin In Linen is a great name for sheets, duvets, and more that have a little pizazz. Some are bold beautiful henna patterns, some are pink called Poppy playground, some are chain embroidered. They have Betty Paige Shower curtains, a rainbow pride duvet, gothic items and Geisha themes… A fun site to look through.

How about these deco sheet sets and duvets called Dem Deco from VICE MERCHANTS. That link will give you all the choices and several close ups of each sheet set.

Like this close up of fun under the sea themes! Prices are from about $59-200 but a few go up a little higher.

Or these Phone cases from Society 6, for $35. 

Nothing seems like it's graduated from being mostly women depicted…

CLICK HERE for Bombs Away by Keith P. Rein.

for Elegant Peach and Ivory - looks like lingerie on skin to me.
Magic Mike is great eye candy for both guys and gals - depending on what floats your boat. It's just jam packed with erotic moves and pounding beats that get your adrenaline going like any good rock concert. It will teach you ALL the moves you need to know.  And the story actually holds water. 

Editors note: I didn't see the sequel to report on it, but there IS one... 
(I think I may have to do my homework on that)

Get romantic if you met over music back in the day…. PERFECT for a certain set, and you know who you are. No explanation needed. Personalize this mixed tape pillow from

Or, how about this 100% cotton Venn diagram-inspired throw pillow personalized with your names, a heart and a saying: Made for Each other, The Perfect Match, We are One... whatever you like. Get in blue as shown, white and slate gray, or wine red. $46 on Red Envelope

This lovely, delicate double hearty necklace is from one of my favorite Easy artisans - EDOR. I've ordered many delicate necklaces from them.  Edor also offers a single hanging silver heart on a gold chain for $23 HERE.  Find other hearts by Edor HERE or check out all their delicate, very affordable, high quality items HERE.

I own this pretty tiny collection of emerald colored hearts: $23

How about slipping your picture - or your kids - into these cufflinks? Sterling silver, Engraved with a single initial, each rectangular locket can hold a picture 3/8"Wx7/16"H. Locket measures approximately 1/2"WX5/8"H. $120 at Red Envelope

What I Love About You is a fill in the blank book with prompts. I think it's great if you can make your own, but if you don't feel that's in your wheelhouse, who would not be pumped to have something like this that they can keep and look at again and again?? At Barnes and Noble for $14

Or, maybe Why I Love You, a Journal of Us is for you.
"With prompts and questions, and places for photos and notes, this helps you express on paper how well you and your partner go together. Designed to be filled out by one partner and given to the other, or to be explored as a couple, this guided journal offers up insight and fun as you write your own love story in your own words! 96 lined pages. $8.99 

Our Q&A a Day - Wonderful possibilities! This is a journal of 356 days of the year, for 3 years, though if you Google, you can find them also for 5 years. There is a question each day and the idea is that both you and your love answer in a line or so, and do it all again the next year, and the next. How cool is it to look back and see how things change - or stay consistent. And regardless, the act itself can prompt conversation at times, or surprise your mate (a good thing if it's been awhile since that happened). Think of what you will learn about each other! $12-16

20 Poems to Bless Your Marriage for $19.95  "Marriage takes us on a journey that passes through seasons and stages, peaks and valleys. This book honors that journey through twenty poems that celebrate and illuminate some of these major stages and provides not only inspiration for the journey but also solace and wisdom."  From Roger Housden, the same guy who did  my much recommended Ten Poems to Change Your Life, this book is suggested to be "an inspirational guidebook as much as a volume of poetry."


There are so many more personalized options for Valentines on any day that they feel is special. Check out THIS LINK to see a few of my favorites. 

Wrap Around His Waist for Valentines Day

Or for his birthday, Father's day, a promotion or new job gift, anniversary or no reason at all!  
A styling secret: A new belt worn with even old jeans or dress pants makes them look nicer and newer! Order these and get them in a few days - or make your own custom design below.

While there are many colors/textures, I'm featuring the new honey brown that's showing up on every well dressed man from James Bond to Jimmy Fallon to Bernie Sanders.  Instead of black leather with black, gray and navy, this color belt (and shoes) is what's happening now - and the best thing, we have designs for every kind of guy. 

If your guys could care less about trends, he'll be right in style without him even realizing it... and he'll certainly like your reaction to him when he wears it - THAT will make him appreciate it :) If he's practical - he'll be happy because this won't be outdated ever. For the connoisseur, the craftsmanship is of the highest quality. WIN/WIN/WIN!

The Feather Edge - light weight, thin supple design, complete with both gold and silver interchangeable belt buckles for $89. Click the link and see it also in black (looks great) and dark brown.

Basic is beautiful with this stylist, elegant, and understated Allen Edmonds model in walnut. Choice of four colors for $98.
You can add a little texture with this tasteful Varanus Lizard belt in 6 colors, affordable for $139, that comes with two buckles, silver as pictured and a gold alternate as shown in the circle below.

Or get the same Varanus Lizard silver tipped, with just the one silver buckle to match for $164.

I know a lot of men who invest once in a Crocodile belt or boots. If yours is that guy, we have them - in six colors. Here's English Tan for $275 This comes with two buckles, silver as pictured and a gold alternate as shown in the circle below.

The silver tipped Caiman Crocodile belt in a brown, another of the 6 colors is $300. 

TIP:  CLICK HERE to see ALL choices of ready to wear belts in all colors, which will come to you in a matter of a few days. 


And this is really cool - you can CUSTOM design a belt for him! Pick from a selection of leathers or suedes, then picking the thread color that goes with it. Choose from one of two buckle shapes and you'll get that in both Gold and silver so he can change them out. TIP: Even if this does not arrive in time, you can print and wrap a pic and make a coupon for the way you will help him try it on - or take it off once it arrives. 

Here is one of my favorite combinations. Subtle but sharp. Goes with neat or brown dress pants as much as it could dress up jeans or club wear. $135- $105 with your $25 off your first order. CLICK HERE for this belt - or CLICK HERE to see all the options. Click on a thread color and the picture changes to reflect it.

Sterling Silver Nail Rings - A Fun Valentines Day Gift!

Here's something I've never seen before - a nail ring. Get one, get a few. Looks like they come in four designs. Probably should order quickly to get in time.  Sizes look adjustable.

Order through and get 20% off as of the time of publication. $15.95 each instead of $20. Really unique without breaking the bank. Notice some are more square at the tip, some more pointy - may not matter but take that into consideration as you look at what she does with her own nails to get a clue what she might like.

Ring Dimension:
A: Ring Surface Ht: 3 cm        Fingernail Width: 0.7 cm
B: Ring Surface Ht: 3.95 cm   Fingernail Width: 0.7 cm
C: Ring Surface Ht: 3.95 cm   Fingernail Width: 1.10 cm

D: Ring Surface Ht: 3.85 cm   Fingernail Width: 0.95 cm